Monday, September 10, 2007

Jim Jones Has A Cheetah Print Neck Pillow and Other Tales from Norway.


We all readied ourselves for a crash landing. Here we were, thousands of feet in the air attempting to land at our Norwegian destination. There was just too much turbulence. We had to pull back up and try again. We all looked at each other in an “Almost Famous” type moment and just waited for someone to admit they were gay. Most people would have put their money on me spilling that; but I held out.

The small propeller plane was just being thrown throughout the air. Some people were praying, some people were clutching the seat in front of them, and others just buried their head in their hands. What was looking to be the last day of my life, turned out to be the greatest.

We eventually got the plane safely on the ground and boarded a shuttle to take us to the festival we were scheduled to play. We had been in Europe for over 2 weeks and played some of the biggest festivals that every country had to offer. We had played in front of hundreds of thousands of people and performed alongside: Ozzy, Korn, Megadeth, Motorhead, Converge, Unearth, Dropkick Murphys, Cannibal Corpse, Sick Of It All, As I Lay Dying, Mastodon, Machine Head, Black Label Society, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Type O Negative, Life Of Agony, Velvet Revolver and countless others.

I had asked our sketchy German Tour Manager, Schlumpf (see previous entries), who was on the festival and he told me “Its just a bunch of bands who I have never heard of with names I can’t pronounce.” I just assumed they were all insane Norwegian Black Metal bands, who are into: severed pig heads, makeup, church burnings, black denim, and white Zack Morris era Converse high tops. I don’t mind any of those things separately, but I just wasn’t stoked to have them all in the same place on the same day when I am already in jail…a.k.a.: Europe.

We got to the hotel and our artist representative was there to meet us. She was looking over our schedule for the day and giving us our instructions. Looking over her shoulder (because I like to eavesdrop and be nosy about EVERYTHING that doesn’t directly concern me) I saw the artists set to appear for the day:

Jim Jones & Juelz Santana




Wait! These were the “bands” that Schlumpf couldn’t pronounce? Are you fucking kidding me? Hatebreed is playing with the Harlem Diplomats in Norway?

I rushed to the fairgrounds to count in our merch and catch the events of the day. Papoose was scheduled to play at 3:30 but of course didn’t make it onstage till well after 4. Jamey and I were convinced he wasn’t showing up. He proved us wrong and more importantly, he proved to be a legitimate performer. He went through some of his mixtape standouts and then did 4 songs off of Nacirema Dream. Is that thing ever coming out? Im sure it will be out the same day as Cuban Linx II, Chinese Democracy, and The Greatest Story Never Told.

I was raised on such Texas rap pioneers as The Geto Boys and U.G.K. When the new wave of Texas rap erupted, I liked Slim Thug and a few of the others but slept on Chamillionaire. In a live setting, the dude seriously gets BUSY. He was NOT playing over a vocal track, he was performing whole songs, and he was working the crowd. This wasn’t a local gig for him…we were in fucking Norway, and he had every pale faced individual there claiming to ride dirty.

After Chamillionaire, Chris Bridges came out and broke into “#1 Spot”. A spot he has some credibility in claiming. He outshined everyone on the day. Ludacris has 5 albums out, with at least 3-5 hits per record. Needless to say, his set was packed with crowd favorites. I had to leave midway through his set to catch Hatebreed who was playing on a different stage.

Hatebreed hadn’t played Norway in over 5 years and we were all a bit worried about what was to come. 5 minutes before set time, which was well after Midnight, there was only 100 people in front of the stage. However, the second the band broke into “To The Threshold”, thousands of people had made their way over, to give the band one of their best responses of the tour. Afterwards, I think some of the kids were mistaking Jamey, Sean, Matt, Chris, and Frank for Paul, John, Ringo, George, and um…well…um; Jordan Knight because people were screaming and almost fainting when they went to meet all the fans.

After the set, I ran across the fairgrounds to catch Juelz and Jim who were set to go on at 12:30. It was well after 1 a.m. and no one was onstage. Jamey and I ran backstage and saw Jim Jones surrounded by an entourage exclusively fitted in ill fitting white t’s. If this was 2005, the ill fitting t’s would have touched their knees; but in 2007 the ill fitting t’s wouldn’t fit an anorexic gap model. Quite the turn of events. We had a video camera running and the gaggle of security gave us some dirty looks as they walked past. Jamey yelled, “Yo Jim!, It’s Jamey from Hatebreed.” Jim was at the steps to walk on the stage and turned around and gave us an even dirtier look. He took a few steps forward and said, “Did somebody just say Hatebreed?” He rockegnized Jamey and gave him some dap and then looked at me and said “ Is this your people?” When Jamey told him I was cool, Jim shook my hand.

Jim Jones shook my fucking hand…in Norway! Ha! I’m not some casual fan of “We Fly High” nor am I claiming to be down since Jimmy appeared in Cam’s “Horse and Carriage (with that white suit and amazing straightened hair),” but Jimmy is someone I definitely look up to and consider superhuman. He is one of the most exciting and quotable people in hip hop today. I remember first seeing the video for “Certified Gangsters” in 2004 on late night BET and being blown away. Since then I have given my life and money to the ‘Set and never looked back. Now, I am standing with Jim seconds before he is about to go onstage!

Jim looked into our camera and said “Yo, its your boy, Jones, New York’s rider man, One Eye, Capo Status, Mr. New York City, and whatever other nonsense Jimmy blabs before he spits a 16 and shouted some more nonsense about being down with Hatebreed (which he is through a few degrees of separation). Jamey and I just looked at each other dumbfounded, and just like that Jim turned and made his way towards the stage as his intro music had been playing during this entire exchange. Jim once again made it half way up the steps and turned around and saw us still standing there. He waved both of his arms for us to join him. Do I still need to set this up for you, Jim Jones is inviting us to walk him onstage alongside his entourage…in Norway.


Jamey and I positioned ourselves on stage right and watched Jim break into “Crunk Muzik” as thousands of Norwegians lost their minds. Jim went into a few more songs before cutting them off after a couple of bars. By this point, I was in such shock that I had completely forgotten that Juelz was supposed to be up there as well. Moments later, Juelz comes onstage looking like a fake Jimmy; which means he was wearing an extra medium T-shirt, a large skull belt buckle, a diamond encrusted wallet chain, and skintight pants which still left his entire ass exposed. In other words, he could have passed as “euro-trash.”

Jimmy and Juelz alternated between tracks from their respective solo catalogues and performed some songs from Diplomatic Immunity I and II. Even though they were cutting songs in half and performing over tracks over their own voices, the entire 45 minute set was surreal. They finally broke into “ Gangster Music“ and abruptly walked offstage, leaving the crowd of 20,000 fiending for more.

A day that I wasn’t looking forward to ended up being one of the greatest of my life. A day where we almost died ended up being filled with life. To think, we owe it all to a former New York City drug dealer. Dipset Bitch!

European Tour Part I

Can I bore you with stories of the Waterbury dirt mall, how confusing “Pirates III” was, why I have bought so many pairs of Air Jordans this year, a 10 hour flight to Copenhagen with no in flight movie, etc? There is truly no point. You know the drill by now.

We recently finished the Jagermeister and Monster Engergy Drink Present: Ladies night at the Monsters of Mayhem II tour Featuring: Hatebreed, God Forbid, Evergreen Terrace, Terror, The Acacia Strain, & After The Burial. It took us to some disgusting parts of the Midwest and Southern United States. The first 150 females over the age of 21 got in for free. Therefore, about 7 trolls and 2 hot chicks with boyfriends took advantage of this promotion everyday. It was just another tour, meaning that; it damaged personal relationships, forced me to not shower for days, and had me made me contemplate the rest of my life and how I am compromising whatever dignity I have left. Great times, plus Misha was there!

We are currently overseas performing at European Festivals. The first one was the Hultsfred Festival in Sweden. This thing was so fucking un organized that it made me yell at a sketchy German with a face tattoo. Sorry Schumpf! In retrospect, not a good idea!

We played on the first day of the fest and people were already disgusting! There was 30,000 people in attendance all camping out in little dome tents. By noon, people were covered in mud, missing shoes, and had written dumb things all over themselves in permanent marker. I am pretty positive these things are viewed like the prom to the Europeans, which means, a lot of people are fucking in those gross little tents.

Jamey and I wandered around the general population and scrounged up some Swedish Drones to purchase carnie vendor food. He just kept saying how sketchy the food was. That worried me because this is the kind of stuff that I eat everyday! We had hot dogs with garlic dressing which were put in a circular bun with a hollowed out center, disgusting cardboard pizza, hot donuts, and meat bread. Yes, meat bread. What is meat bread? Well, it is meat baked into bread.

I watched Converge and they were great once again. They mainly played selections off their last 3 albums but threw in ‘Forsaken’ for good measure. I then decided it would be a good idea to take a 4 hour afternoon nap.

I slept through Velvet Revolver, but got up in time to see Korn. Yes, Korn. They played songs from their entire catalog including, “I Did My Time”, “Got The Life”, “Somebody, Somewhere”, “Chutes And Ladders”, “Twisted Transistor”, “Falling Away From Me”, “Freak On A Leash”, and “Blind”. They only had 3 original members this time but had Joey from Slipknot filling in on drums.

Hatebreed went on at midnight. People were pretty dead at this point but still hung out late with America’s favorite hardcore band. Some of the Lamb of God guys showed up midway through the set w/ a member of Buske’s gang to catch the set. It was a huge party on the stage and a great way to close out the day.

After the show, Matt proceeded to get completely bombed and tell us about his personal favorite president, Franklin Delanor Roosevelt. Matt listed all his accomplishments, but failed to understand the relevancy when I asked if FDR enjoyed the company of naked ladies.

After Sweden, We flew into Finland to play a small show with Velvet Revolver and Patti Smith. Seriously.

On Sunday morning, we flew into the Netherlands and met back up with our bus. We arrived to the fields of rock festival pretty late due to all of our early morning traveling.

The lineup to the festival was insane! Backstage, I ran into Ozzy Osbourne, Munky and Fieldy of Korn, Slash, Life of Agony, Peter Steele (who looked taller than he did in PLAYGIRL), Dave Mustaine, Rob Flynn, Mike Clark (Suicidal Tendencies), Evan Seinfeld, Mikkey D from Motorhead and countless others. It was a pretty wild time. Frank actually got kicked out of the bathroom so Slash could take a shit by himself.

Before the show, Jamey and I talked about Biohazard for 2 hours. We talked about the oft slept on classic, New World Disorder and the 2 banger ballads that said disc contains. We started listening to Ill Blood by No Warning. Man, if the tail end sing along of track 4 doesn’t get you fired up; you aren’t alive.

I got to see Suicidal Tendencies for the first time in 9 years and they were great. The crowd was dead for them and Hatebreed, but I assume the masses in attendance were completely baked on hash.

Later on Zakk Wylde (Yeah, that Zakk Wylde) came on our bus and woke Wayne up by kissing him. Zakk is Wayne’s favorite guitar player of all time, so it was very cool to see it all go down.

Zakk said that he knows Hatebreed thinks he plays “piano Elton John shit” but he respects them and referred to our tour bus as a “box of sexiness.” Alcohol is one hell of a drug.